The average pet causes £650 of property damage – even goldfish
Landlords could be left counting the cost of chewed carpets, scratched sofas and fouled flooring under Labour plans to give renters a “default right” to pets.
Animal welfare plans announced last week saw the party promise to “consult landlords on giving tenants a default right to own pets unless there is evidence they are causing a nuisance”.
Tenants can currently request permission to have a pet, but landlords can refuse on the grounds of the potential cost of repairs.
Shadow environment minister Sue Hayman MP said: “Recognising that currently for the majority of people under 30, buying a home is sadly less and less of an affordable option, Labour would seek to improve the rights of renters to own pets that do not cause a nuisance”.
One study found that pets on average cause £650 of damage to their owner’s homes, with the most damaged items:
Although cats and dogs are the most likely pets to damage properties, insurance figures show that 2% of claims relate to pet damage are caused by goldfish.
Lettings expert Ajay Jagota of deposit free renting firm Dlighted responded to the plans.
“Britain is a nation of pet-lovers, and these plans are likely to appeal to Britain’s increasing number of renters, who are in turn renting for longer and longer.
“Landlords never want to turn away good tenants, and in my experience will only ever refuse to allow pets in their properties for a compelling reason, such as their properties – flats for example – not being suitable for animals, and in some cases not beneficial to their welfare.
“Property owners traditionally protect themselves against damage with deposits, but in reality deposits provide a false sense of security. If these plans become law landlords need to ask themselves whether those deposits would genuinely protect them against a dog ripping off wallpaper, a cat scratching a sofa to shreds, or even a gerbil chewing through the electrics.”
Dlighted offers low-cost deposit replacement insurance which allows landlords and letting agents to rent properties with zero deposit, protecting them with £600,000 of cover against property damage, unpaid rent and legal fees.
85% of renters surveyed said deposit free renting was the reason they chose a property or letting agent.